Blog # 235 I talked about 2006 comes to a close at Zappos. In this blog I want to talk about 2007 starts off with many new changes.
The vertical strategy was in full force and to start the New Year we launched the Running vertical. We were in talks with Nike and trying to add them to our site. We felt this focus on running and other categories would help this effort. The vertical was basically a “Soup to nuts” type of thing where it was everything running. From socks to clothing and rankings of popular footwear styles. A runner could now come to our site and get lost in all the info and product but in a good way.
We also decided to add some in house services for our employees which included a shoeshine stand similar to what you would find at a Nordstrom store and alterations services. Employees could bring in their clothing that needed alterations and have them back the next week.
So, March comes around and on a quiet day on the 21st, Fred stands up and yells “We got them!”. Yes, Nike was coming to our site probably in the fall. Fred was so nervous and happy he was beside himself. He could barely write the email telling everyone the details. Later in the day we went to Claim Jumper for a “happy hour” to celebrate. The waitress there told us the next day it was one of the biggest bar tabs in the restaurant’s history there. Fred and I joked about how they were going to beat LY numbers next year.
Alfred is announced as the company’s Chief Operating officer April 11. Tony and Alfred had a long history of doing things together. I was excited to see Alfred hold this position as we all had faith in him to make smart decisions. He was a really smart guy and thoughtful in his decisions. I had worked with Alfred doing seminars for the finance team education them on the footwear business. I would put together PowerPoint presentations on the history of footwear, how to properly buy shoes and the thought process behind it. They really appreciated the info and I enjoyed putting it all together for them.
Soon after this announcement we told everyone we were launching our Zappos Canada site. We would have different operators in CLT to answer the phones. The challenge was getting the shoes to the customer from our warehouse as we tried to “Wow” every customer with expedited delivery. This would help us understand how better to go international at some point.
With all this going on Richard and I were planning another trip to Shanghai/Dongguan. We would be taking Charles and Katherine from my team and some others in the company as well to do the tours. We wanted Charles and Katherine to come out to help with Zappos culture training for our China office employees. We also were looking into adding Shoe bags with every private label brand in the box so it was a big project we were trying to wrap up. On top of this my passport had to have extra pages put in because of my extensive travelling. There was a delay so I would have to leave a few days later than the rest of the team. Thankfully that was the only drama of the trip.
Another vertical is launched in May focusing on our Rideshop business. This vertical would focus on Skate, Surf, Snow and BMX. The team would have skate shows at skate parks or on campus which were really cool. There was definitely a cool vibe going around for this effort.
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…just sharing my story and tips from my footwear career.
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